Hamlet By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 2

Scene II. A room in the Castle.

[Enter King, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Attendants.]

KING.
Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern!
Moreover that we much did long to see you,
The need we have to use you did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
Of Hamlet's transformation; so I call it,
Since nor the exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What it should be,
More than his father's death, that thus hath put him
So much from the understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of: I entreat you both
That, being of so young days brought up with him,
And since so neighbour'd to his youth and humour,
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time: so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather,
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus,
That, open'd, lies within our remedy.

QUEEN.
Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you,
And sure I am two men there are not living
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To show us so much gentry and good-will
As to expend your time with us awhile,
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks
As fits a king's remembrance.

ROSENCRANTZ.
Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.

GUILDENSTERN.
We both obey,
And here give up ourselves, in the full bent,
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.

KING.
Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.

QUEEN.
Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz:
And I beseech you instantly to visit
My too-much-changed son. — Go, some of you,
And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.

GUILDENSTERN.
Heavens make our presence and our practices
Pleasant and helpful to him!

QUEEN.
Ay, amen!

[Exeunt Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and some Attendants].

[Enter Polonius.]

POLONIUS.
Th' ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
Are joyfully return'd.

KING.
Thou still hast been the father of good news.

POLONIUS.
Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege,
I hold my duty, as I hold my soul,
Both to my God and to my gracious king:
And I do think, — or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
As it hath us'd to do, — that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.

KING.
O, speak of that; that do I long to hear.

POLONIUS.
Give first admittance to the ambassadors;
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.

KING.
Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.

[Exit Polonius.]

He tells me, my sweet queen, he hath found
The head and source of all your son's distemper.

Continued on next page...

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